Andrea L. Turpin

A New Moral Vision

Gender, Religion, and the Changing Purposes of American Higher Education, 1837-1917

Cornell University Press 2017

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in EducationNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network October 16, 2017 Lilian Calles Barger

Andrea L. Turpin is an Associate Professor of History at Baylor University. Her book, A New Moral Vision: Gender, Religion and the Changing Purposes...

Andrea L. Turpin is an Associate Professor of History at Baylor University. Her book, A New Moral Vision: Gender, Religion and the Changing Purposes of American Higher Education, 1837-1917 (Cornell University Press, 2017), begins with the early institutions of higher learning and the contest over the idea of separate and unique education. She examines the gender history of both private and state colleges. Evangelical Protestant commitments to personal conversions and missions fuel women’s higher education beyond rudimentary instructions preparing them for domestic life. The objective was a godly social order based on the individual relationship with God. After the Civil War the influence of religious liberals, increased emphasis on research and growing demands for women’s education instigated a reevaluation of the university’s role in moral preparation. Separate men’s, women’s and co-education institutions multiplied and moved toward seeking the public good in sex-specific ways. Women trained for social service professions; men for government and institutional leadership. The shift away from personal piety to gendered character formation and service to nation created increasingly rigid notions of separate male and female cultures in the public life of the Progressive Era. Turpin’s examination highlights the role of higher education in constructing the moral and gender map of a nation.


Lilian Calles Barger, www.lilianbarger.com, is a cultural, intellectual and gender historian. Her current book project is entitled The World Come of Age: An Intellectual History of Liberation Theology.

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